Understanding Apple’s Legacy Contact: A New Era of Digital Estate Planning

In today’s digital age, not only are we transacting online but frequently we are doing this exclusively through our phones, or devices.  Our lives are intricately tied to our online accounts and data. From cherished memories captured in photos to important documents stored in the cloud, our digital footprint is vast and often invaluable. Some assets, such as crypto wallets, can only be accessed through an app.  Recognizing this, Apple has introduced a feature called “Legacy Contact” for Apple ID, aiming to simplify the digital inheritance process and provide peace of mind to users and their loved ones.

What is a Legacy Contact?

A Legacy Contact is a trusted person you designate to access your Apple ID account and data in the event of your passing. This feature allows the designated contact to manage and retrieve important information stored in your Apple account, ensuring that your digital legacy is preserved and appropriately handled.

Why is the Legacy Contact Important?

Prior to the introduction of the Legacy Contact, you could only access the data and information on someone’s Apple i-phone if you knew their passcode.  This obviously flies directly against advice about online security.  The Legacy Contact cures many of these problems and permits:

  1. Preservation of Memories: With the Legacy Contact feature, your loved ones can access your photos, videos, and other media, ensuring that precious memories are not lost.
  2. Management of Digital Assets: Important documents, emails, and other digital assets can be retrieved and managed by your Legacy Contact, preventing potential loss of crucial information.
  3. Simplified Process: Instead of navigating complex legal and technical processes to access your digital data, the Legacy Contact feature provides a streamlined and straightforward way for your chosen person to handle your digital affairs.
  4. Peace of Mind: Knowing that your digital assets and memories will be in trusted hands offers peace of mind, both for you and your loved ones.

Things to Consider

Like any estate planning, you need to carefully consider the implications of appointing a legacy contact.  Things we recommend you think about include:

  • Choosing the Right Contact: It’s important to choose someone you trust implicitly, as they will have access to your personal and potentially sensitive information.
  • Communication: Discuss your decision with your chosen contact. Make sure they are aware of their responsibilities and understand how to use the Access Key.
  • Regular Updates: As at June 20204, your legacy contact only has access to your data for three years from when the first legacy account request is approved — after which the account will be permanently deleted. It’s also important to bear in mind that if your relationship with the designated contact changes, or if you wish to choose someone else, you need to make sure to update your settings accordingly.

Alternative Methods for Managing Digital Legacy on Samsung Devices

As of June 2024, Samsung does not have a specific feature equivalent to Apple’s “Legacy Contact” for managing digital inheritance directly through their devices or accounts. However, Samsung users can still take steps to ensure their digital assets are accessible to trusted individuals in the event of their passing. Here are some alternative methods and general recommendations for Samsung users to manage their digital legacy:

  1. Google Account Inactive Account Manager: Since many Samsung users rely on Google services (like Gmail, Google Photos, and Google Drive), Google’s Inactive Account Manager can serve a similar purpose. You can set up this feature to notify and grant access to trusted contacts if your account becomes inactive for a specified period.
  2. Password Management: Use a password manager to securely store and share your login credentials with trusted individuals. Many password managers offer features to share access in case of an emergency. Ensure your trusted contact knows how to access your password manager and understands their responsibilities.
  3. Samsung Cloud and Samsung Account: You can still plan by sharing necessary credentials with a trusted individual. Make sure they know how to access your Samsung Cloud and Samsung account to retrieve important data like photos, notes, and other personal information.


Apple’s Legacy Contact feature is a significant step towards responsible digital estate planning. It empowers users to take control of their digital legacy, ensuring that their valuable data and memories are preserved and managed by trusted individuals.  If you have questions about how your digital footprint interacts with your Estate planning, Contact us today on (02) 4943 3988 to speak to one to speak to one of our experienced lawyers about your will and Estate Planning documents.  We have years of experience helping people through the Newcastle, Hunter and Lake Macquarie region.

This blog was written by Senior Associate,
 Liz McIntyre
Liz practises in the areas of Family Law, Wills & Estate Planning,
Deceased Estates, Wills disputes and Conveyancing

Estate Planning

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